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Foreign policy with Africa


Ostpolitik
Ostpolitik

Soviet interest in Africa was piqued by decolonization and the coming to power of leaders ready to see aid from Moscow as a solution to deep-seated problems. Attempts to gain influence suffered two notable setbacks in the 1960s. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Soviet-supported Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba was killed in an uprising in 1961; in Ghana, President Kwame Nkrumah and his socialistic government were overthrown in 1966 and Soviet technicians were expelled. In the 1970s the Soviet Union, with the aid of Cuban troops, helped a friendly government come to power in Angola and, having previously allied itself with Somalia, assisted Ethiopia in driving back an invasion by the Somalian army. It backed the antigovernment Patriotic Front (PF) in Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) and the African National Congress (ANC) in South Africa.

The Soviet Union had close relations with Egypt, the largest of the Arab states, in the 1950s and 1960s. It supported Egypt when it nationalized the Suez Canal in 1956, thus wresting it from British and French control. It also helped it build the Asw?n High Dam and backed it in the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war. In 1971 the two countries signed a 15-year treaty of friendship. The following year Egypt, concerned with interference in its internal affairs, ordered Soviet military advisers to leave. Soviet criticism of President Anwar al-Sadat’s peacemaking visit to Jerusalem in 1977 further alienated Egypt.

In 1955 the Soviet Union, an occupying power in Austria, agreed to the independence and neutrality of that country. The same year it established full diplomatic relations with West Germany.

The West German “economic miracle”—a reminder of the powers of the market economy—and the country’s new Ostpolitik (German for “eastern policy”) to improve relations with the Soviet bloc increased the USSR’s misgivings about its position in an Eastern Europe tempted by Western trade, technology, and ideas. The Soviet Union championed East Germany against West Germany and caused repeated crises in their relations. The problem of West Berlin, surrounded by East German territory, was particularly thorny.

Relations with West Germany improved at the end of the decade with the advent of a Social Democratic government in Bonn.

In August 1970 the Soviet and West German governments signed a treaty renouncing the use of force to settle disputes and accepting existing European frontiers, including the Odra-Neisse boundary between East Germany and Poland. Tensions were further reduced when West and East Germany granted each other diplomatic recognition in 1973. "USSR" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.

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